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The Fivepenny Piece Discography

It's A Long Way
Fivepenny Piece

Mike Records MIKE 001

Release Date: 1982 (? undated)

This was Fivepenny Piece's first single since their last for EMI in 1978, and the first issued by the group following the departure of John Meeks in 1981. The personnel on the record were founder members Lynda Meeks, Eddie Crotty, Colin Radcliffe, George Radcliffe and John's replacement Trevor Chance, with Phil Barlow on drums and Pete Lingwood on keyboards.

The record was issued on a small independent label Mike Records and this was the first record issued on that label. The record appears to have some sort of promotional connection with a company called Eland Travel of Surrey, who according to the sleeve note "helped transport troops to the Falklands". Although there is no date anywhere on the record or the sleeve I have guessed it was issued in 1982 because of the Falklands connection, and I assume the choice of the medley of First World War songs has some tie-in with that too.

The record came in a picture sleeve with a sepia-tinted black and white photo of the band on the front in First World War uniforms and period costume. The photo was taken outside the gate of the former Ladysmith Barracks in Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, once home of the "Manchesters" (the Manchester Regiment). The gate was preserved when the barracks themselves were demolished to make way for a housing estate. The back of the sleeve shows three more photos - another one outside the barracks gate; one with an Eland bus; and a close-up of the Eland Air logo on the bus. There is also some text:

Three all-time favourite war songs are incorporated in "It's A Long Way". Fivepenny Piece have successfully blended the nostalgia and comradeship of "Tipperary" and "Pack Up Your Troubles", together with the hauntingly plaintive "Keep The Home Fires Burning". It is an unusual reminder that the past is still relevant today. "In A World Of Three Foot Nothing" is a contrast portraying the innocence of youth.

The song It's a Long Way to Tipperary was written in Stalybridge in 1912 after composer Jack Judge was challenged by a friend to write, compose and produce a song in just one night.

Other details given on the sleeve are that the producers of the record were Trevor Chance and Pete Lingwood; the engineer was Roger Salmon; and that the record was recorded in Bootleg Studios, Reddish. The photographs were taken by Martin Williscroft, and the sleeve was "by courtesy of Eland Travel, Surrey".

As for the record label, the company made a bit of a pig's ear of this! As can be seen from the labels above, the first side is labelled Tiperary (sic) and Pack Up Your Troubles, with side 2 labelled Keep The Home Fires Burning and World Of Three Foot Nothing. This gives the impression that the record has two tracks on each side. In fact all three WWI songs form the medley It's A Long Way on side 1, with just the World Of Three Foot Nothing on side 2, as stated above. Still, it was the Mike label's first release so perhaps some allowance should be made!

An interesting curiosity for the Fivepenny Piece collector, and one of Lynda's last recordings before leaving the band. The song In A World Of Three Foot Nothing appeared on the album Here We Are Again.

Side A

  1. It's A Long Way a medley of three songs:
    · Tipperary (Jack Judge - Harry Williams)
    · Keep The Home Fires Burning (Lena Ford - Ivor Novello)
    · Pack Up Your Troubles (George Asaf - Felix Powell)

Side B

  1. In A World Of Three Foot Nothing (Trevor Chance - Colin Radcliffe)
The Fivepenny Piece CD cover
Front sleeve showing the band in period costume.
The Fivepenny Piece CD cover
Back Sleeve showing three more photographs and the sleeve notes.
The Fivepenny Piece CD cover
MIKE 001 A - front labe showing incorrect track listing
The Fivepenny Piece CD cover
MIKE 001 B - back label also showing incorrect track listing

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